Military Embedded Systems

NATO Pod to be developed for MQ-9 RPA


September 01, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Air Force photo.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. The latest joint development effort between General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and technology firm SENER is a NATO Pod, designed and built by SENER Aeroespacial, part of the SENER Group. GA-ASI will integrate the NATO Pod onto the MQ-9 aircraft line to increase its configuration and payload options.

NATO Pod development is driven by GA-ASI's initiative to provide customers with a customizable pod for carriage of sovereign, cross-domain Intelligence, and Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) sensors that can be integrated onto GA-ASI-built MQ-9A and MQ-9B RPA Systems.

GA-ASI is working with European suppliers to add sensor capabilities to the new European-built payload pod that meets NATO airworthiness standards. The NATO Pod is designed to be a flexible, scalable, certifiable, aerodynamic, and low-cost enclosure that enables customers to add sovereign sensor capabilities developed in their respective countries using a common set of interfaces to the aircraft system. This approach aims to reduce integration time and cost.

Having completed the system definition and specification phase, the conceptual and preliminary design phases, and the Critical Design Review at the beginning of the summer, SENER Aeroespacial is currently working for GA-ASI on the detailed design phase of the NATO Pod.